Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Energy efficiency is a subject that's receiving lots of attention lately. However, it can be hard to know what steps will help you save energy and which are a waste of time. Here are just a few ways to reduce your energy consumption in the kitchen. It's not hard to lower your electricity bill and reduce your impact on the planet at the same time!

Cooking is one place you can start saving energy. Using your microwave to reheat leftovers instead of the stove or oven is not only faster, it's more energy efficient. Most modern microwaves use 40% less electricity than a stove burner.

Small meals should be prepared using the smaller burners, unless you're using a very large pot. They don't take any longer to get your meal hot, but they use less energy than a big burner would.

If you want to save even more, use your crock pot. Almost everyone has one, but they're also one of the kitchen's more neglected appliances. Start your meal before you head to work in the morning. Your crock pot runs all day, but requires only a trickle of power to make sure you'll have dinner hot as soon as you get home.

Have you looked at the settings on your refrigerator? Most people set their refrigerators and freezers colder than they need to be. A little experimentation will tell you the ideal temperature to keep food fresh without spending extra on power.

While you're in the fridge, check the insulating seal around the edge of the door. Does it seal firmly when the door is closed, or are there gaps? Any damage or poorly sealing areas will let cold air out and warm air in, increasing your power use.

Good lighting is important in the kitchen. New compact fluorescent bulbs provide just as much light as incandescents, but draw a lot less electricity. They're more expensive individually than regular bulbs, but need to be replaced a lot less often, so you'll save money over time.